Taking Responsibility for Your Studies

Picture of William Michael
Taking Responsibility for Your Studies
by William Michael - Saturday, 10 June 2017, 3:01 AM

It is common among foolish people to think that their opinions of themselves are important.  We often hear young people told that all that matters is that they "believe in themselves", or that they ignore what other people think about them.  Unfortunately, the world we live in doesn't work that way.  Any time a person seeks admission into an institution, those making the admission decisions seek to know what others people think about the applicant.  Exactly the opposite of what the young people are told happens--and often determines the opportunities they have in life.

As a teacher, I am often asked to provide students with reference letters to submit to colleges, universities and religious communities to help the leaders decide whether or not a student should be admitted to the school.  Some may think that these admission teams desire to know how smart I think the student is, whether I think the student should be admitted, how much I like the student, or something like that, but that's not what they want to know.

What every college, university or religious community wants to know is this:

"Does this individual want to study?"

That question can be asked in many different ways, but that's what they want to know about my students.  They understand that some parents are very strict and make their children do their homework--but at the next level, there are no parents around.  They understand that some students have extraordinary teachers who help them succeed--but those teachers will not be with them at the next level.  They understand that some students have amazing gifts and abilities--but gifts and abilities are only valuable if they are put to work.  Admissions teams want to know if the student desires to study or must be made to do so by others.

Now, I would love to write great reference letters for my students, helping them gain admission to whatever college or university or religious community they desire, but I will never lie.  When I am asked to write a reference letter for a student I tell the exact truth, good and bad, based on my experience with the student.  I don't write about whether or not I like the student, or whether the student has great parents, or whether the student has potential.  I write about what I have seen the student do--and not do--in my time working with him.  

Therefore, what you do today and everyday determines what will be written about you.  Give others good things to write about!

God bless,
Mr. Michael